Liga Endesa: Real Madrid moves on to finals

Liga Endesa

Real Madrid’s Tremmell Darden looks to drive past CAI’s Vladimir Golubovic.

Real Madrid swept CAI Zaragoza in three straight contests to earn a place in the Finals of the Liga Endesa playoffs. On Tuesday, the won Game 3, 63:77, on the road, to complete the sweep, and will now wait until the other semi-final between Herbalife Gran Canaria and FC Barcelona Regal concludes. As of Tuesday, Barça led GC 2 games to 0, but both games, held in Barcelona, were close with the hosts winning Game 1, 69:63, and Game 2, 77:73.

Madrid was led by Mikola Mirotic with 18 points, shooting 5 of 7 from the floor and turning in a valuation of 21 for the game.

CAI gave Madrid a game through three quarters and even held a 13-point advantage in the second frame, but were outscored 26:42 in the second half.

The hosts held the lead for the bulk of the first quarter, but gave it up shortly before the frame was over when Felipe Reyes hit three of four free throws to put RM up 14:15 as time expired.

Rudy Fernandez dropped a three-ball to open the second frame and put the guests up four, 14:18. Two minutes into the period Vladimir Golubovic split a pair of free throws for CAI, then his team mates ran off 12 straight on three triples and a three-point play, putting the hosts up by nine, 29:20. After a hoop in the paint, CAI got two more long-balls to build the margin to 13, 35:22. To close out the half the Madrid men outscored their hosts 2:13 to cut the advantage to two, 37:35. Tremmell Darden knocked down eight of the 13 in the final push.

Just under four minutes into the third 10 Sergio Llull hit a pull-up jumper off a fast break to pull Madrid back to within two, then shortly after dropped a three-ball to give them their first lead since the first quarter, 41:42. After a lay-up by Joseph Jones, Llull hit another three pointer, which was followed up by a trey from Nikola Mirotic to put Madrid up 43:48. Jones hit a hook in the paint, and Damjan Rudez knocked down a triple to knot the score at 50, but Lllull went down and hit yet another long-ball to send the clubs into the final frame with Real Madrid up three, 50:53.

Rudez hit the first deuce of the fourth, but then Jaycee Carroll took over for Madrid, first hitting a jumper just inside the arc, but then knocked down two consecutive three-pointers to put the guests up 54:61 with just under six minutes to play. Through the rest of the frame Madrid outscored CAI 9:16, to pull away with the win and earn a place in the Liga Endesa finals.

Madrid’s Mirotic scored 18 to lead all scorers, Carroll and Darden tallied 13 each, and Llull dropped in 10.

Michael Roll was high-man for CAI Zaragoza with 12, Jones added 11, and Pablo Aguilar contributed 10.

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